Senior year was crazy. The classes were tough, I had an internship on top of all the on-campus jobs I had, and everywhere you turn, you get asked the unavoidable question, “So, what are your plans after graduation?” I know that people mean well, but it is just one of those questions that stresses me out just thinking about.
David was in Carrollton, falling in love with campus ministry. At the prayer conference we’d gone to the year before, when we both felt led to do summer missions, he also felt God leading him to a career in campus ministry. He had just graduated with a Bachelor’s in Economics, which would be zero percent useful in getting a campus ministry job, but hey, at least he had options.
We were both really busy and hardly ever got to see each other. I was interning with Holly Lynch (basically my hero) at her event planning company, helping in her office and working at events, including some crazy-huge, beautiful weddings. I was also Missions Coordinator on BCM council, meaning I planned all the fundraisers for SendMeNow, which I loved. It was the most rewarding thing I was involved with on campus. I was also still a tour guide, a yearbook editor, D Rol’s student worker, a sorority sister, and taking about eighteen hours of classes.
When David was able to come to Rome or I got a chance to come to Carrollton, it was always a short visit. We knew it would be like that going into the school year, but it was still really difficult. We didn’t fight, necessarily, but I was always mopey about the small amounts of time we got to see each other and not feeling like one of his top priorities (I was, though, I just get whiny).
In September, one of my sorority sisters got engaged. I was happy for her but also super jealous. I hadn’t realized how badly I wanted to get engaged until it happened for someone else. It didn’t help that almost every weekend I was working at these beautiful weddings and subconsciously (or maybe not) taking notes for what I’d want for my own ceremony.
I was ready. I wanted the ring, the ceremony to tell my sorority sisters, the wedding website, the engagement pictures, and the marriage. David knew how I felt and even let his parents know that he was ready to start saving for a ring. I was nervous about that, afraid they would tell him it was too soon or that it wasn’t a good idea since I was the only girl he’d ever dated (I shouldn’t have worried; they were super excited).
Every time David came to see me after that, I wondered if he was going to propose. Would he do it somewhere at Shorter, since we met there and had so many memories there? Would he take me on a scavenger hunt, like he’d done in the past when asking me to formals? Would he have someone hiding in a bush to photograph the entire thing? I would get so nervous and then so disappointed when it didn’t happen. It would be so exciting to see him but then he’d head home, confused and hurt as to why I was so upset. I wanted more than anything for the proposal, when it did happen, to be a complete surprise, so I didn’t want to be like, “Hey, aren’t you forgetting something? A diamond, perhaps?”
Around Thanksgiving, I was really getting impatient. We had gone to look at rings together so he would have some idea of what I wanted. I was pretty sure he had already gotten permission from my dad (or, let’s be real, my mom), and I was feeling pretty sure he’d do it on Thanksgiving because it was my favorite holiday.
We went to my aunt and uncle’s house for dinner, where he met a lot of my family for the first time. My aunt introduced him to everyone as “my special friend,” which was hilarious and awkward, and I just kept waiting for him to do it. I thought maybe my parents were in on it, or something. We got pictures of our family taken, and even a few of just me and David. I was sure it was going to happen, but, it did not. Favorite holiday ruined all because I was being dumb.
The next morning, we headed to Waynesville, NC, to have Thanksgiving with David’s family. Okay, maybe he was just waiting to do it with his family. That would be good! We made the four hour drive and had a delicious meal, still no ring in sight. I remained hopeful. We left the next afternoon, and David asked if I wanted to take a walk around Lake Junaluska, a beautiful lake near his Nanny’s house.
Here we go. This is it. We got out of the car and started walking, hand in hand. I was nervous, sure he was going to stop me any second.
I became, for lack of a better word, sulky beyond belief. I am embarrassed of how I acted, but it’s all part of the story. We headed back to the car before making it all the way around the lake, David realizing I was upset about something. I didn’t want to tell him, but when I started to cry, the truth came out. He looked so upset, letting me know that he didn’t even have a ring yet (a lie, but I forgive him now). I was mortified. We rode
home in probably dead silence, David feeling bad for letting me down without realizing it and me wanting to escape inside a black hole.
When we got back, it was finals time. I was ready for the semester to end so we could go back to Covington, KY. It was easily one of my favorite places, and I couldn’t wait to go back, knowing it might be my last time to go since I was a senior. Lucky for me, it was a pretty memorable trip.